Student Achievement Award – Award of Merit

Ben Daub

University of Waterloo - Master of Arts in Planning

Ben Daub is a second-year Master of Arts in Planning student enrolled in the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning. The submitted project is the applicant’s master’s thesis, which began in September 2020. The project was conducted solely by the applicant, Ben Daub, under the supervision of Dr. Luna Khirfan who provided advice on research design and data analysis. Data collection, data analysis, literature review, and writing were conducted solely by the applicant.

In recognition of the prevalence of urban intensification among contemporary urban planning paradigms and the fact that such intensification is placing an ever-increasing strain on the existing urban fabric, the goal of this project was to directly address how intensification has impacted urban heritage conservation (UHC). A parallel, secondary goal was to discern how professionals working in the heritage domain value UHC and how that value manifests through heritage intervention (HIP) type preferences. 

Through answering various questions regarding HIPs, the project had an impact on planning theory, planning practice, and to society. In both the Canadian and global context, few academic studies have investigated the direct impacts of intensification on UHC, and none have addressed how social valuation manifests in the selection of the various HIP types. The results offer a direct reflection on how UHC has been impacted within the intensifying city, how heritage professionals’ values have changed, and how heritage properties are managed through adaptation. The findings can therefore be used as a benchmark to address if UHC policy is functioning as intended within Toronto or if alterations to the general UHC approach are required. Simply, by reckoning with the status of UHC, properties of cultural heritage value or significance may be more effectively managed through change, ultimately benefiting the social actors who interact with them.